NetOne, Zimbabwe’s second largest mobile operator recently introduced a new prepaid package that ties up voice , data and SMS bundles into one suite.
Called OneFusion, it has been promoted by NetOne as a package that helps subscribers manage how much they spend on airtime. By paying between $5 and $200 a subscriber gets all the prepaid communication services being served up by NetOne right now.
OneFusion has caught a lot of flak because of some of its inherent weaknesses. However, a closer look at the service shows that this could be one thing that NetOne actually got right.
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OneFusion scores with simplicity
After the fumble that came with the redesign of its popular Dollar A Day promotion into a complicated service OneFusion manages to walk away from that. The package is very easy to use and understand.
As far as product simplicity goes, NetOne is scoring points. I loved the fact that I only need one USSD code to gain access to a simple list of options that give access to NetOne’s entire prepaid communications list.
It’s the same sort of value proposition that Telecel has been communicating with its MegaChat Bundles. NetOne has taken this a step further by offering a bigger allowance for social media and data.
There’s no need for me to buy separate bundles for social media, voice, international minutes SMS and data. This also helps me avoid the complication that comes with airtime being used up while I make all these separate transactions.
It also brings in the element of honesty, something that all mobile operators haven’t been able to communicate effectively and represent entirely.
Issues like subscriptions that are auto-renewed, out of bundle airtime that starts vanishing as soon as I top up and VAS applications that I am signed on to without my consent have, in the past, done little to create the impression that any money spent on mobile telecoms services is used fairly.
With OneFusion at least my $5 or $10 is used to access all these services and I’m not racing against the likelihood of the mobile operator taking advantage of me.
Some work needed to improve the OneFusion experience
For all its positives I still had some major issues with OneFusion, the biggest of which was the data allocation.
A 30 MB monthly allocation of data for a $10 subscription hardly makes sense in 2016.
While NetOne might argue that my $10 is also covering at least $6 worth of social media access along with voice and SMS, just following a handful of links from Facebook or Twitter in minutes is enough to land me on pages that have data-hungry content like images and video.
The data allocation can’t even support Instagram which at some point was something that NetOne recognised as being so significant that it wanted to introduce bundles for it.
Unless I have other internet options, OneFusion doesn’t cover all my data needs. I guess it’s part of NetOne’s plan – getting me to top up for data bundles anyway which will ensure that the Average Revenue Per User(ARPU) numbers swell beyond the OneFusion subscriptions.
However, any telecoms product that has internet services as leading factors for setup should consider that internet usage patterns have changed significantly. As a provider of broadband services, NetOne has to understand this better than anyone else.
Another issue I have with OneFusion is the assumption that I want SMS or so much for voice.
With services like WhatsApp that has been given prominence in the OneFusion makeup which reduces the need for SMS and calling, I’d have loved for the option to pay for the same amount of money or slightly more for bundles that cater for this reality.
Having said this, I still think the OneFusion package is a step in the right direction for an operator that is trying to redefine itself. This time around, NetOne got it right and with some work OneFusion can only get better.